Iran insists on Turkish inclusion in nuclear swap talks
Iran yesterday reiterated that it favors the inclusion of Turkey and Brazil in planned nuclear talks with the Vienna Group, given the two countries' central role in drafting a nuclear swap deal that Tehran says should be the basis of the upcoming talks. Speaking to the press, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Turkish and Brazilian participation in the talks would be useful. In June, Iran signed an agreement with Turkey and Brazil to send 1,200 kilograms of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey in return for 120 kilograms of uranium fuel enriched up to 20 percent, for use in a medical research reactor in Tehran. The deal, almost identical to a plan offered to Iran last year by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), failed to stop the US from passing sanctions against Iran at the UN Security Council. Turkey and Brazil, both non-permanent members of the council, voted against the new sanctions. Mehmanparast said Iran is ready for the talks with the Vienna Group (the IAEA, the United States, Russia and France), but that there should be a consensus on the time and place of the talks. He also reiterated that the talks should be based on the Tehran Declaration, referring to the June deal with Turkey and Brazil. On Monday, a senior Iranian lawmaker said it would be "natural" for Brazil and Turkey to participate in Iran's talks with the Vienna Group, as they are the architects of the declaration. Iran, Turkey and Brazil must be present at the negotiating table, said Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee.